Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

When Are Dinner Parties Fun Affairs?

Written by Patti on November 22nd, 2010

Good Morning Darlings!

I am thrilled to welcome today’s guest blogger, reader Cindy Cullen, who has some very sage advice for your upcoming dinner parties. Cindy writes on the topic of culinary arts colleges and may be reached for further advice at

Dinner parties are a mixed bag – some are absolute bores, some are so-so, and some just blow you out of this world with their fun quotient. And if you had to host one, you’d definitely want to be in the last category and wow your guests. So how do you go about making a dinner party a fun affair, especially if you’ve never thrown one before or worse, if your last attempt was a damp squib? Dinner parties are fun when:

They’re tailored to the guest list: The party has to be about what your guests would enjoy, not about what you want it to be. Choose a theme and entertainment based on your guest list – something formal for colleagues and co-workers, especially if superiors are present, an all-out fun affair with no protocol whatsoever when it’s a bunch of close friends, all of who love to let their hair down, or a toned down yet informal dinner when there are family members with children in tow. There’s no one-size fits all when it comes to dinner parties, so customize them to suit your guest list.

They have backup plans to prevent disasters: So your main course just went down the drain because your caterer failed to understand your instructions or because you’re not such a great cook. Your dinner party is still sure to be a success if you have acontingency plan for such situations, like an arrangement with a restaurant where you can order some decent food at short notice. The key to backup plans is that they must be executable quickly and with the minimum chance of a mishap.

They don’t take themselves too seriously: It may be formal, but it’s still a party. So don’t stand on ceremony or expect your guests to do so as well. If you’re a stickler for rules and frown at accidental spills and the wrong use of cutlery, your future dinner parties are not going to have a very long guest list. Dinner parties that don’t take themselves too seriously are the ones that are most fun.

They include all the guests in the merriment: The best dinner parties are those where all your guests enjoy themselves; so as host, it’s up to you to get people to socialize through activities that allow them to do so. If your dinner party is themed, choose one that is amenable to all your guests so that they all have fun. And if you see people feeling left out or remaining wallflowers, entice them to join the fun by being a good host.

Thanks, Cindy! This is advice we can all learn from.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Beauty and The Beast Soundtrack – Be Our Guest


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